A U.S. study found that having a positive attitude toward aging can lower the risk of being diagnosed with dementia by nearly a half, even in people with a family history of the disease.
A group of experts at Yale University found that seniors who kept a positive belief about them getting old saw their dementia risk shrink by 43.6 percent in just four years. Those who had a negative attitude toward getting old didn’t see their risk go down.
Also, study participants who carried a high-risk gene called APOE-e4, which makes them genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s and dementia, saw their risk of dementia plunge 49.8 percent if they kept a healthy attitude toward aging.
Prof. Becca Levy, who led the study, underlined that age beliefs can be easily altered, so governments should focus more on anti-ageism public campaigns to keep their seniors healthy.
The research which was published in the journal PLOS ONE Wednesday reveled that a positive attitude is a protective factor against age-related brain damage.
Positive Beliefs about Aging Can Half Risk of Dementia
The study involved 4.765 adult men and women with the median age of 72.
At the beginning of the study, participants were asked to fill in questionnaires about their age beliefs. Next, researchers monitored them for four years and asked them to take part in cognitive and memory tests every two years. The tests were designed to detect any signs of dementia.
Around 26 percent of participants had the APOE-e4 gene variant. However, if they kept a positive attitude toward life and getting old their dementia risk nearly halved even if their fathers or grandfathers had had the disease.
The study’s findings were adjusted for other factors that may influence the outcomes like diabetes, history of cardiovascular disease, sex, age, social status and education, and cognitive performance.
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